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Old May 30, 12, 5:56 pm
Helena Handbaskets
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: (not Montana. Nor is my name really Helena, nor am I female)
Programs: Delta, USAirways, Starwood, Priority Club, Marriott, Amex
Posts: 2,557
Upgrade to Business, get money back! ?

Maybe this makes perfect sense to the DL experts here, but it was a big surprise to me:

Today I booked a round trip from my non-hub airport to SFO, connecting both ways in ATL. It's fairly close to the departure date so I wasn't particularly surprised to see that low fare-class inventory was limited. The flights I selected had fare classes of L, L, Y, and Y (L on both flights outbound, Y for both flights returning), and the fare was about $1418. Before I committed, I noticed the box saying "upgrade for $XXX per flight." To my surprise, this time it said "Upgrade to Business class for $0.00."

Well, that sounds like a good deal, right? So I decided to see what would happen if I bit. The first surprise was that the Y fare class on the last leg actually dropped to an H fare. I expected some changes, but I would have thought that if the H fare were available initially, it would've been offered instead of the Y fare. In fact, all of the fare classes changed, from L, L, Y, Y initially to Q, I (Business Elite), P (First), and H.

And the even bigger surprise was that the upgrade was not just free, but priced out almost $100 cheaper than the all-economy fare, at $1335 or so!

If this is the result of a phenomenon that is understood here, could you explain it to me? I'd like to be able to fall into a deal like this in the future if I knew how.

Also, what is a P class fare? I'm familiar with A and I fares, but had not encountered P before. I was able to select a seat in First Class, but I'm a little concerned it could be one of those "upgraded economy" first class fares that could be downgraded if they sell out in F.

Finally, the flight that has the I (Business Elite) fare is DL15 from ATL-SFO, and is shown as a 757 with 7 rows in F. I assume this is one of the old Song aircraft with standard F seats and not the recliners that people generally associate with Business Elite, but if there's a chance I'm mistaken, that would be an even better surprise.
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